Sleep, Focus, and Concentration

How well you sleep affects your focus and concentration. Sleep is a necessary must-have because it refreshes our mind, body, and spirit. Still, millions of Americans make a habit of not getting adequate levels of sleep each night.

If you think that you can skate by on less than six hours of sleep for an extended period and it not affect your thinking, you are sadly mistaken. Poor sleep habits can wreak havoc on your cognitive abilities and mental wellness. Think of your mind as a well-oiled machine and sleep as the fuel it needs to function at optimal levels.

Without adequate sleep, we find ourselves moving through a haze of confusion, poor judgment, and an inability to reason when faced with complex thought. Harvard Medicine says our learning takes place in three core functions of acquisition, consolidation, and recall.

During acquisition, our brains take in new information. The consolidation phase entails a series of processes in which our memories begin to stabilize. Later, we can access information through recall after storing it away.

These three functions may seem a bit high level or scientific, but it gives testimony to the importance of sleep. Without adequate periods of rest, we will not be able to successfully navigate each of these functions necessary for concentration and focus.

Selective Attention Impacts

Also, poor sleep can impact our ability to filter multiple pieces of information. Selective attention is the ability to only give attention to specific sets of data where things may be happening at the same time. Imagine going to your favorite restaurant with a friend.

You can hear other patrons placing their orders, engaging in conversation and your hostess is providing you with the specials of the day. Your ability to listen and focus on that list of specials for the day is an example of selective attention. Studies show that when we miss a single night of sleep, our ability to operate at this level diminishes (Live Science).

We Need Sleep to Boost Learning

Sleep is critical to our ability to learn new things and building new skills or mastery of new tasks. Without it, our ability to focus is lost, and memory capacity is severely limited, which in turn makes it very difficult to learn anything new. Good sleep allows us to make good decisions.

This aspect can prove particularly crucial for children and teens’ performance in school. Sleep enables us to function at optimal levels of clarity and with focus. Our response time to questions or stimuli increases drastically with proper sleep habits. Also, we experience an improvement in memory and recall which is a vital component of learning new things.


How well you sleep influences your capacity to be creative. Sure, you may find that you have bright ideas in the middle of the night but write them down and go back to sleep as soon as possible. Studies show that sleep is associated with giving us the necessary tools for pioneering knowledge, skills, and abilities.

As you can see, proper sleep habits are critical to the way you process and respond to information. Make every effort to achieve a minimum of seven to a maximum of nine hours of sleep per night. Try to stick to a regular sleep schedule. Positive sleep habits will aid in improving your overall cognitive and physical performance.